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A look into what mock drafts are saying: Part four

04.28.11 at 1:35 pm ET
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Since the draft is later on tonight, I want to focus on some interesting Patriots picks a few mock drafts have in the first several rounds ‘€“ at least ones that haven’€™t yet been mentioned. By now we’€™re pretty sure (at least, we think we’€™re sure) which way the Pats will go at pick 17, and we have an idea about pick 28, trades pending.

But what about some mock drafts that go against the grain? It looks like nfl.com’€™s Mike Mayock bought into New England hosting Washington quarterback Jake Locker for a personal workout. He has Locker breaking the Thursday cut and going to the Pats at the 28th pick. It’€™s an interesting choice, but one that can’€™t be completely ruled out altogether.

Although Patriots fans cringe at the thought, we know Tom Brady won’€™t be around forever. So what better way to bring up the next franchise quarterback than having him learn from the best while still in his prime years? Brady is 33 years old, and will be 34 before the season actually starts. Just a season ago, Brady won the NFL’€™s MVP by a unanimous vote. Doesn’€™t that sounds like the perfect role model for a developing quarterback to you?

I personally am not big on the prospect of Jake Locker being a successful NFL quarterback, but if Brady and Bill Belichick are in any way involved in Locker’€™s growth as a player, then I can’€™t be that skeptical. The one thing Locker could add if he were a Patriot is the ability to scamper outside of the pocket and use his legs more than Brady does. Having a multidimensional passer only adds more levels to a team’€™s offense. Think about the Patriots trying that on for size.

Locker’€™s value ranges all over the boards, so a spending a first-rounder on him could be controversial. It might make more sense to wait on him, potentially trade out the 28th pick for later round picks or future drafts (or keep it and draft a need position), and grab him at 33 if he’€™s available. Even if he isn’€™t, and the Patriots are serious about taking one of the quarterbacks this high up, there will likely still be players like TCU’€™s Andy Dalton and Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett available. Mallett was another player the Patriots worked out privately.

On NEPatriotsdraft.com, experts have UNC’€™s Robert Quinn somehow slipping out of the top 10 picks and falling to New England at 17. How much success would a pass rusher like Quinn have in the Patriots system? A ton of success. How likely is it that Quinn gets past the Redskins at number 10? Not at all.

This isn’€™t the first mock draft that has the Patriots taking Alabama running back Mark Ingram at 28, but it is the first draft I’€™ve come across that has the Patriots not stopping with halfback talent there. NEPatriotsdraft.com has New England selecting Oklahoma back DeMarco Murray with the 74th pick ‘€“ not exactly a shocking name, but a curious decision to have the Pats take two rookie backs in 2011. I would even be surprised if they landed Ingram, who I think will end up with the Dolphins at number 15. Murray, a senior Sooner listed at 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds, is versatile out of the backfield. When not carrying the football, he becomes a pass-catching threat that defenses have to account for. In 2010, Murray caught 71 passes for 594 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for 1,214 yards and 15 scores. A slip to the third round for the talented Big 12 back could be good news for the Patriots, who seem to always be in the market for skill position players.

Also check out Pats Pulpit for a complete seven-round mock draft on the Patriots, and SB Nation’s final mock draft before tonight’s 8 p.m. commencement.

Before the NFL draft begins tonight on ESPN, check out Belichick’s final pre-draft interview in which he talks about knowing the draft board and having a handful of early picks, including two in the first round. You don’€™t want to miss it.

Read More: 2011 NFL Draft, DeMarco Murray, Jake Locker, New England Patriots
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